Effects of the Physical Environment on Cognitive Load and Learning: Towards a New Model of Cognitive Load

Hwan-Hee Choi*, Jeroen J. G. van Merrienboer, Fred Paas

*Corresponding author for this work

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Although the theoretical framework of cognitive load theory has acknowledged a role for the learning environment, the specific characteristics of the physical learning environment that could affect cognitive load have never been considered, neither theoretically nor empirically. In this article, we argue that the physical learning environment, and more specifically its effects on cognitive load, can be regarded as a determinant of the effectiveness of instruction. We present an updated version of the cognitive load model of Paas and Van MerriA
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-244
JournalEducational Psychology Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • Cognitive load theory
  • Physical learning environment
  • Instructional design

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